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Asparagus with Fresh Morels & Puff Pastry

This asparagus with fresh morels and puff pastry is from the cookbook “The 6 ingredients” by Conrad Gallagher. I first tasted morels in the West of Ireland nearly twenty years ago when they had been roasted with garlic and parsley – I can still clearly remember the taste. Wanting that taste becomes a craving like waiting for the truffle season; my order is always in early so the morels are sure to be on the menu whilst they are in season.

Ingredients

Puff pastry, thawed if frozen – 250 grams

White asparagus spears – 1 kg

Egg yolk, lightly beaten – 1

Olive oil – 2 tbsp

Shallot, chopped – 1

Fresh morel mushrooms, well washed and stalks trimmed – 250 grams

Double cream – 250 ml

Method

  1. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry 5mm (1/2in) thickness and then cut out four rectangles, each about 10 x 15cm (4x6in).
  2. Transfer to a baking sheet and leave to rest for one hour in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
  4. Peel the asparagus spears and trim down into 10cm (4in) length.
  5. Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
  6. If you tie the asparagus in small bundles you will avoid damaging their tips whilst they are cooking.
  7. Drain, refresh quickly under cold running water and set aside.
  8. Meanwhile, brush the pastry with a beaten egg yolk and bake for 10 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
  9. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallot for a minute or two to soften, stirring.
  10. Add the morels and continue to sweat for another minute or so, then cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the morels are completely tender.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the morels to a warmed bowl and keep warm reserving the remaining shallot and morel cooking juices in the pan.
  12. Pour the cream into the pan with the shallots and morel cooking juices and cook over a high heat until the juice has been reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
  13. Return the morels to the sauce and season to taste.
  14. Using a sharp knife, carefully split each puff pastry rectangle in half to create two thin rectangles.
  15. Arrange the bottom rectangles on serving plates. Place about six asparagus tips on each rectangle and spoon over the morel mixture, then cover each one with the remaining rectangle of pastry, presentation side up.
  16. Flash quickly in the oven to ensure the dish is completely heated through and serve at once.
  17. The recipe serves 4 people.

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